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Declaring His Independence, Rep. Amash Leaves The GOP

Rep. Justin Amash held a May 28 town hall meeting with constituents in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Bill Pugliano
Getty Images
Rep. Justin Amash held a May 28 town hall meeting with constituents in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Saying that "modern politics is trapped in a partisan death spiral," Rep. Justin Amash, the only Republican in Congress who has accused President Trump of impeachable conduct, is quitting the GOP.

Amash, a fifth-term congressman representing Michigan's 3rd Congressional District, chose Independence Day to disclose his decision.

"Today, I am declaring my independence and leaving the Republican Party," Amash wrote in a Washington Post op-ed dated July 4.

The 39-year-old, whose father was a Palestinian refugee, wrote that he supported Republican candidates throughout his early adult life and was elected as a Republican.

"In recent years, though, I've become disenchanted with party politics and frightened by what I see from it," he wrote. "The two-party system has evolved into an existential threat to American principles and institutions."

There was no direct mention of President Trump in Amash's self-styled declaration of independence. But the representative, a lawyer trained at the University of Michigan, has been an outspoken critic of Trump.

"President Trump has engaged in impeachable conduct," Amash wrote in May in a series of tweets describing his principal conclusions after reading special counsel Robert Mueller's redacted report on the investigation of Trump's campaign and administration.

In June, Amash quit the conservative House Freedom Caucus, of which he was a founding member.

Amash did not say whether he would caucus with Democrats or Republicans, and he did not declare an affiliation with any other party.

He ended his op-ed with a call for others to join him in rejecting partisan loyalties.

"I'm asking you to believe that we can do better than this two-party system — and to work toward it," he wrote. "If we continue to take America for granted, we will lose it."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

David Welna is NPR's national security correspondent.
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